I’m a firm believer in the reasoning that we all need some form of escape, either from our daily humdrum lives, or from traumas that we go through during our lives. Some use drugs or drink to escape reality. Me? I immerse myself in the other world that is Tamriel, the setting for the Elder Scrolls role playing games. Some of you may (or may not) be aware of my impatient wait at the moment for the imminent next episode in the Elder Scrolls saga, Skyrim. Due to launch on the 11/11/11 (Bethesda, who are the creators of said world have a sense of humour) I along side many others are waiting its arrival with baited breath. Some of my readers may have arrived at the conclusion that a Granny in her sixties must be slightly batty to be so enamoured by a video game, so to try and explain to those of you who have never entered the world of Elder Scrolls, I’m writing this post is to try and explain exactly why I love them so much.
The first important feature of any Elder Scrolls game is that if you can see it, you can go there. There is absolutely no area closed to you, as in real life, you can walk anywhere, swim, climb, open doors to houses ( although if they are locked and you break in, you’ll be put in jail) there is no ‘keeping to a set path that you can’t leave’. Similarly, you can do anything you like, go adventuring into old ruins or caves, or forts seeking out treasure, begin the main quest, stand admiring the view, do smaller quests, join a faction such as the Mages Guild or the Fighters Guild, become a vampire, be a thief, a scoundrel or a goodie two shoes that everyone admires by only doing good deeds. I’ll leave you all to guess which path I usually take.
You can fashion your character to look exactly how you wish, and also choose which race to be. Yes, there are different races in the world of Tamriel, Elves (though they look nothing like Legolas in the Lord of the Rings) Orcs, Imperials, Britons, Khajiits, Redguards, Argonians, and lastly the Nords. Each race originally come from a different province in Tamriel, for example, the Nords come from the cold lands in the north known as Skyrim. Each race have their own attributes and weaknesses. The Khajiits for example, who resemble the feline cat family in looks, are good at sneaking. So its up to you to decide who to be and what you look like. The character creation in an Elder Scrolls game is really comprehensive and you can create a very unique looking character. As you move about the world of Tamriel, you can play as I prefer to do, first person where you see everything as if through your own eyes, or alternatively you can choose third person, where you play as if following yourself from behind. Some people prefer this view, I don’t. Luckily Bethesda do give the player the choice.
So lifelike is the Elder Scrolls world, that you become fully immersed in it. Trees sway in the wind as do flowers and grass, it rains ( in fact it rains so much I feel right at home there!) it thunders and lightens, it snows if you are in the higher mountains in the north, its dark at night time and if you look up to the stars, you immediately know that you are not on planet Earth. In fact, the only clue that reminds you that you are playing a game is the health meters, compass etc at the bottom of the screen.
To fully explore everything in Oblivion, the last Elder Scrolls game, would take roughly 200 hours and the next instalment promises even more adventuring! What ends up making the world of Tamriel so believable though is the history. Just like any good saga such as the Lord of the Rings etc, it is believable because there is a full history to the world in which you find yourself. There are thousands of books for the player to read in libraries where just as in our world, you can read exactly how the Ayleid ruins which are dotted all over Tamriel came about and the complete history of Tamriel. It is all so believable, and once you become immersed in the Elder Scrolls world, its amazing how the time in this world passes you by!
Bethedsa’s ability to ‘tell a good story’ or create a ‘good quest’ is initially what sucks you in, you find that you simply can’t put it down, its like being inside a brilliant to read book where you simply cannot wait to turn the next page. The difference is of course that you are the main character in that story, it’s all about you and the in game decisions you make. Like most people, my life is pretty mundane, housework, shopping, cooking etc, the usual daily grind, so you can just imagine how being able to become the heroine who saves everyone from certain destruction can become so enticing! As I always play as a Nord (which is pretty ironic, seeing how I feel in this world about the cold winters!) I will feel that I am returning to my birthplace in November when I set foot in Skyrim and begin my latest adventure. Just as long as my readers are aware that after 11/11/11 I probably won’t be blogging much, I’ll be far too busy killing dragons and adventuring!
For more info http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Skyrim